Hot, dry conditions on Colorado's Western Slope continued to fuel the Pine Gulch on fire Friday as the amount of burnt acreage climbed past 73,381, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire, which broke out 18 miles north of Grand Junction, is scorching brush and trees at a rapid pace. Nearly 800 firefighters are racing to tame the blaze. They have managed to to keep the fire at 7% containment since Sunday.

Pine Gulch Fire map

Photo courtesy of Rocky mountain Incident Management Team.

The fire is the fifth largest in state history behind the High Park fire, Spring Creek fire, West Fork complex fire, and Hayman fire — the largest at 138,114 acres.

Severe drought in the region continues to facilitate prime conditions for the fire's spread.

"With the winds added to the already hot and dry conditions, there is a possibility for extreme, wind-and-fuels-driven fire behavior with high rates of spread, as we saw over the past two days," the Bureau of Land Management wrote.

Only an abandoned structure has reportedly been burned, but some Garfield County residents have been forced to evacuate, the agency said.

More updates to come.

719-476-1623

@JessySnouwaert

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